Swiss hospitality in the sky

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As immigration queues go, this one has to be the longest I’ve waited for an Immigration Officer to say nothing, not even ask a question about my destination, purpose of visit or, at least, when I’ll be back.

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Airports are bubbles. You can float in and out of them unaware of everything but your own immediate reality, the prospect of destination and the next stop. Here, in the Lufthansa lounge at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, full of ‘probably the best beer in the world’, fine cheese, fruit and club sandwiches, some of the calories frittered away on that long, pointless wait have been replenished. Energised, relaxed, and listening to Keith Richards’ Vintage Vinos, it is almost possible to forget that I changed 5,250 Indian rupees for €55. As changers of the Indian Rupee, we ride the crest of a tsunami of embarrassment that is ours alone.

Swiss business class is a world apart. I thought perhaps it is my small town hick mentality that made me gawk at the seats, their three settings – for take off and landing, lounge and a full length bed all of 2m. But it turns out that every journalist who was flown into tiny Appenzell the next day was raving about Swiss hospitality.

And yet, in the twilight world of economy class, my countrymen did me proud.

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